Welcome to the Soft Structure Lab
The Soft Structure Lab at the University of Michigan is focused on polymeric gels, gelation, and functional deployment. We are interested in gels that are form by by both precipitation and polymerization, We use a range of tools and microscopy to study structural organization and mechanical performance of gels, particularly linked with water management. Our interests lie in controlled release, as well as biomass derived and synthetic polymer recycling,
Our Current Focus
Therapeutic controlled release
Micelle based therapeutics dissolution for local release.
We are using amphiphilic copolymer polyethers as structures that self assemble around body temperature. We have probed release of antibiotics and antimicrobials, chemotherapeutics, and other probiotics, embedded in these structures. We have an NIH proposal in review and a large review paper coming out
Adsorption-mediated micro plastics collection in municipal wastewater
an NSF sponsored Emerging Frontiers Program
We are developing adhesives that are attractive to microplastics based on hydrophobic interactions. We are optimizing the properties of adhesive moieties for specific microplastics to adsorb and developing substrates for optimizing micro plastic interaction in wastewater
Fruit fiber reuse
Ionic liquids as solvents for cellulose/ other reactive intermediates
We have several proposals in review to use ionic liquids as green solvents to extract cellulose for subsequent repreciptiation as fibers and mattes for other industrial uses. We are considering cultivation that generates a lot of waste including pineapple, coffee, and corn among others.